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October 23, 2010 | By Steve Chawkins and Catherine Saillant, Los Angeles Times
Six-foot waves were breaking when Lucas Ransom and his longtime buddy Matthew Garcia arrived at Surf Beach west of Lompoc on Friday morning. No wind, glassy conditions ? they agreed it was going to be a great session for Garcia on his surfboard and Lucas on his beat-up red bodyboard. Before they plunged into the chilly waters, Ransom pulled out his cellphone. "You wouldn't believe these waves, Mom. I can't wait to get to them," he told Candace Ransom, who said have fun, call afterward.
September 18, 2010 | By Robert Faturechi and Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times
It began as a friendly trip to the Santa Anita shopping mall in Arcadia with a man she had met at a karaoke club. But within hours, the 21-year-old woman would be crawling across the San Bernardino desert floor bleeding from her neck and desperate for help. The woman, identified by authorities only by her first name, Liang, had met her attacker a week before the Sept. 8 kidnapping, police said. That day, DeQiang Song, a Chinese immigrant on a student visa, picked Liang up for a trip to the mall, but detoured to a desolate patch of desert between Victorville and Apple Valley, police said.
August 22, 2010 | By Shane Goldmacher, Los Angeles Times
With fewer than 140 days left in office, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is making a final stand for goals that have eluded him for nearly seven years, clinging to an overdue state budget for a last bit of leverage before he fades from relevancy. Already, the state's budget is 54 days overdue. But Schwarzenegger has said he won't sign a spending plan until the Legislature retrofits the broken fiscal system that has bedeviled California — and him — for years. He is demanding cutbacks in public pensions, a new constraint on spending and an overhaul of the way the state collects taxes.
August 21, 2010 | By Sam Quinones, Los Angeles Times
An Ecuadoran man told investigators he was held in an 800-square-foot Baldwin Park house while his captors demanded $2,500 above the $10,500 he had already paid to be smuggled into the United States. Another man traveled from New York to pay $12,000 for the release of his 12-year-old son sequestered in the house. Smugglers then kidnapped the man and demanded another $1,000 from his family for his release. These were among the stories emerging Friday after 35 illegal immigrants were found in the house Thursday; one of them had managed to get a cellphone and call 911. Baldwin Park officers arrived at the house to find two men running away.
March 31, 2010 | By Andrew Blankstein
A man claiming to be a Tijuana police officer was arrested on suspicion of plotting to kidnap the child of a wealthy Orange County family, authorities said Wednesday. The suspect, Cesar Ariel Zapata-Landeros, told an informant that he had planned the kidnapping, going as far as to rent a storage garage where he said he would keep the child, according to a federal grand jury indictment unsealed Wednesday. Federal prosecutors said Zapata-Landeros, 23, intended to force the mother's car off the road in the Tustin Hills area and grab one of her children.
March 14, 2010 | Chicago Tribune
How much is a life worth? Cook County prosecutors said Saturday that a man charged with kidnapping accepted $700 to set his victim free. Terrance Warren was charged with felony aggravated kidnapping after prosecutors said he held his victim for ransom. But the tables were turned Saturday when Warren was jailed in lieu of $1-million bail. On Jan. 9 at 9:45 p.m., Warren, 26, was reportedly riding in an SUV with two other people when they turned in front of another vehicle, causing it to crash.
February 3, 2010 | By Tracy Wilkinson
'We have your daughter." Those chilling words, the worst nightmare of any parent, came over the telephone, spoken by a man planning to demand money for her safe return. One catch: We have no daughter. So the call, for us, was easy enough to ignore. But thousands of Mexicans receive these calls every week. Sometimes they are real; a child or spouse or other relative has been kidnapped, and a ransom is demanded. Often, they're bogus. A cottage industry has exploded alongside the skyrocketing kidnapping rate in Mexico that could be called "extortion on spec": telephoned shakedowns that play on fears, in which the perpetrators scamming for pesos make random calls.
January 17, 2010 | By Jane Engle
Dear world traveler: Should you consider kidnap and ransom insurance? Such insurance, which does just what it says -- pays your ransom if you're kidnapped -- is not as crazy as it may sound, at least for some travelers. As the global economy slides, such crimes are multiplying. "The number of kidnappings is exploding around the world," said Greg Bangs, vice president of Chubb Group of Insurance Cos. in Warren, N.J., which he said is the world's third-largest underwriter of so-called K&R insurance.
September 25, 2009 | DIANE PUCIN, ON SPORTS MEDIA
You won't have to like hockey to like the mini-film "Kings Ransom" by Peter Berg, who is most noted for his work as a director on the television series and movie "Friday Night Lights" and as an actor in the role of Dr. Billy Kronk on "Chicago Hope." "Kings Ransom" will be the debut of an ESPN series called "30 for 30." Yes, 30 different film makers were charged with creating small movies related to a sports topic as part of ESPN's celebration of being on air 30 years. The film's focus is on one particular chapter in the storied career of the NHL's greatest goal scorer, Wayne Gretzky.
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